The current rumor about the next Batman movie, The Dark Knight, is that it's filming in Chicago for 80 days this summer under the secret identity/code name Rory's First Kiss. That's Rory, not Robin, by the way.
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Monday, February 20
The current rumor about the next Batman movie, The Dark Knight, is that it's filming in Chicago for 80 days this summer under the secret identity/code name Rory's First Kiss. That's Rory, not Robin, by the way.
Filming for Fred Claus, in which Vince plays Santa's bitter brother, will shut down Wacker Drive between Wabash and Orleans this Friday night from 8-11. The bridges at Wabash, State, Dearborn, LaSalle, Wells and Franklin will also be closed intermittently during that time so that helicopters can get awesome shots of the river. Vaughn previously stopped traffic around town during the summer of 2005 while filming The Break-Up.
Mayor Daley laid out his spread for the traditional friendly wager between mayors of Super Bowl cities today, and it's a doozy. Daley's not worried, though, warning Indy mayor Bart Peterson that he's won bets with the mayors of five other cities in the last year and a half. While we wait for Peterson to ante up, the cities' theaters are getting in on the action as well. Bailiwick artistic director David Zak announced a bet with Bryan Fonseca of Indianapolis's Phoenix Theatre: ten tickets to Bailiwick's upcoming US premiere of Jerry Springer: The Opera if the Colts win, and ten comps to Phoenix's world premiere And Her Hair Went With Her for a Bears win.
Making no mention of what the bad news might be, South Side Congressman Daniel Lipinski's resolution praising "Catholic Schools for their ongoing contributions to education" passed unanimously. The resolution was planned to coincide with Catholic Schools Week (Jan 28-Feb 3). There are over 250 Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Chicago.
This week is National Take-Out & Delivery Week, and GrubHub has teamed up with Meals on Wheels to make it an extra-special nonholiday: for every meal ordered through the site through Feb. 4, GrubHub will donate one meal to Meals on Wheels.
January is the most popular time to get dumped, according to Crain's Chicago Business. Divorce lawyers and dating services count this period--right after the holidays and before Valentine's Day--as as the busiest time of year, as many find it the right moment to shake an unwanted relationship loose and move on. Among the dating services flooded with applicants at the moment are the Eight on Eight Dinner Club and Gourmet Dating.
If you say "Chi-caw-go" instead of "Chi-cah-go," you may be part of the Northern Cities Shift, "a series of changes in vowel pronunciation in many Midwestern cities." How 'bout dat dere?
This spring, Version '07 is looking for street artists to participate in a totally awesome exhibit, "Urban Gardening and Exterior Decorating: Hostile Takeover." It's all about how urban environments can become areas for personal and ideological transformations. Sound intriguing? Then put together your stickers, stencils, billboard mods and more for submission to this year's UGED, a mobile operation and exhibition system that will have temporary "shows" throughout the city.
MidwestBusiness.com's Brad Spirrison proclaims his love of RexGrossman.com. It's a decent site, but you'll want to turn down your speakers, or you'll be treating the office to "Sexy Rexy's Back." (By the way, you *really* don't want to visit sexyrexy.com -- unless you want your IT department flagging you for visiting a pr0n site.)
Fortunately, the irony that the Illinois Institute of Technology's student newspaper hadn't been updated since January 31, 2006 wasn't lost on its editors. Oh, irony, thou must find elsewhere to roost.
The New York Times goes above and beyond once again, this time to find out where the respective territories of Bears and Colts fans merge into one blue-and-orange and blue-and-white slurry of some Bear/Colt hybrid creature. The answer: Rensselaer, Indiana. And they're pumped for Sunday.
An oversized fiberglass Bears helmet cracked while being placed on one of the Art Institute Lions. Perhaps the lions--who have designations rather than proper names--are secret and disgruntled fans of a certain Michigan team.
Awhile back, I was talking to Tom Sherman about how there ought to be a site that covers the Chicago tech scene. Like Tech Social, but with news, too. A month later, he launches Windy Bits. Way to go, Tom.
Starting in the 2008-2009 school year, Lindblom Math & Science Academy will be the first CPS high school to shift to a year-round schedule. Bonus nonsensical Daley quote: "If we can spend billions of dollars to put a person on the moon, how, in this day and age, can we give kids two months off?"
In 1943, as male National Baseball League players went off to war, Cubs owner Philip K. Wrigley formed the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League Players Association to keep the ballparks in business. Former Chicago native and Springfield Sallies pitcher Esther "Schmattze" Morrison shares a few memories of when baseball diamonds were a girl's best friend.
Editor & Publisher Magazine reports the death of Ed Rooney, a Pulitzer Prize winner and giant of Chicago newspapermen. They note that his "clip book would read like a history of Chicago's most famous and infamous moments." His resume is a roll call of Chicago newspaper glory days -- Chicago Sun, Daily Southtown (Southtown Economist), City News Bureau, Daily News. The Sun-Times has a great obituary full of specific tributes as well as a listing and a guest book. Tribune also has coverage here.
If you have visited a friend in Oak Park or happen to have a friend who lives in Oak Park, then you probably know that Oak Park has some major rules about parking on the street. The law that prevents people from parking on the street in front of their home was passed in 1929 and some folks are finally considering repealing it, starting with this survey. And since Oak Park is only distributing this survey online (boo! hiss!) go fill it out for yourself, your friend, or mine. Thanks, eep.
They can stir our civic pride, instigate contemplation or even reflection, and if nothing else, give us something interesting to look at. But Crain's says the city's 700 plus public art pieces can have a commercial benefit as well.
If you missed Deerhoof at the Metro Saturday you can watch a video of them performing "The Perfect Me" on pitchfork's YouTube page; not a bad spot to watch in general for clips of bands performing in Chicago.
Steppenwolf held a press conference this morning to announce the addition of six new members to its ensemble. Alana Arenas, Kate Arrington, Ian Barford, Jon Hill, Ora Jones, and James Vincent Meredith bring some much-needed youth (Hill, who last appeared in The Unmentionables, is a senior at the University of Illinois, and Arenas and Arrington are under 30) and color (Arenas, Hill, Jones and Meredith join K. Todd Freeman, the one existing ensemble member of color) to the increasingly gray institution. The Steppenwolf ensemble now totals 41 members, though many (cough Joan Allen cough) rarely return to the theater.
Subway Knitter knits one and purls two in Boston, but one of her projects, the Amazing Charlie Card Mitten might suit frigid users of the CTA's Chicago Card. Keep your hands toasty warm while taking the first steps toward your inevitable Borg conversion. Resistance is futile.
The producers of the upcoming TV version of Chicago Public Radio's "This American Life" were at the Sundance Film Festival this past weekend, showing some clips of the program and talking about the TV adaptation of the radio series. (The Sundance Channel posted an interview with the producers on YouTube which includes some short clips.) A brief note posted at the TAL Website gives us a date for the debut of the series: Thursday, March 22. Mark your calendars!
We do have a love-hate relationship with Capone and The Outfit, don't we? On one hand the mob strengthens our tough big city image, and on the other hand it'd be nice if the tourists would just get over it.
The Mount Prospect Costco turned away disappointed fans and at least one camera crew after it stipulated that William "Refrigerator" Perry could only sign Costco-bought items. (Video has additional details.)
Indianapolis Star writer Michael Tully ruminates on possibilities for the lame tradition of Mayoral Sports Betting. He starts off trying to come up w/ some municipal trash talk about Chicago. Finding it difficult, he settles into the old standard-- Bear's fans are "drunk and disorderly".
The 47th Annual U of C Folk Festival is coming up. And if funds are tight and you want to see some of the performers (including "one of Missouri's foremost fiddlers"), then volunteer. For every two hours volunteered, you get a free ticket. More info at the Festival's volunteer page.
What appeared to be the theft of an original Monadnock Building ornament turned out to be the theft of the only replica ornament in the building.
Illinois is one of four big states looking to move their presidential primaries to early February next year, creating a new Super Tuesday early in the race. With primary races often decided in early states and in the media long before Illinois's traditional May voting date, this move could go a long way toward making our votes count for a change. (In case you're wondering, the New York Times comes right out and says it: "Illinois lawmakers are talking about moving their primary to help Senator Barack Obama, a Democratic contender.")
New City Chicago's Indie Bookstore Guide is a fantastic reminder that there are still quite a few great local independent bookstores spread all across Chicago.
Eat your heart out, Oprah. While the daytime talk show queen attends to affairs at The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa, a musical group made up of ex-political prisoners from that country will tour the Chicago Public Schools. Yes, the kind of schools where students only care about sneakers and iPods. "The Robben Island Singers" were imprisoned with Nelson Mandela during Apartheid. They travel the world riffing on social justice and human rights. The singers will perform at Kenwood, Whitney Young and Roosevelt, among other CPS schools, throughout the first half of February. And a film crew will accompany them for a DVD.
It's that time again: the Newberry Library is offering seminars on everything from Irish writers to genealogy to the history of the sleeping car. Click here to see if there's a course for you. Seminars begin next month.
Glancing through Wikipedia's entry on Pilsen, I happened to find out about the neat Art Pilsen site, devoted to highlighting arts events in that historic neighborhood. And what else did I find? The Art Pilsen blog is highlighting the first annual Drag King and Queen Show, Bananas y Tortillas, tomorrow night, with proceeds from the show to help combat the effects of domestic violence.
The Chicago Center for Green Technology is kicking off a new season of free seminars, through its Green Tech U, next month. Some specifically target architects and engineers (who can earn certificates and continuing education credits), but others are ideal for those of us who wonder what we can individually do to make a difference for the environment: convince the condo board to install a green roof? Put a rain barrel in the yard? Call up the governor and ask him to impose tougher auto emissions standards? Some seminars are listed in Slowdown; click here for the complete catalog.
In case you missed it, emblazoned across the top there, we're having our monthly get together this evening at the Black Rock (Addison and Damen) from 9PM onwards. We'll be likely in the back area enjoying a pint or two along with some fried mac n' cheese. Hope to see ya there!
(NOTE: not safe for work, but funny as heck) How does one define true happiness? For some guys, it's the feeling of mammaries resting on their head. One of those guys might just work in the Tribune Tower. Behold; photographic evidence that true bliss is possible.
Hanna Holborn Gray was U of C's president from 1978 to 1993, serving as the first female president of a major university. As admirable as the professor's life has been, Gray's official presidential portrait has a more colorful history, having been repeatedly critiqued, stolen, and, in one case, inscribed with Apocalyptic verse.
Hearty cyclists (the ones that're always talking about "base miles," even in sub-zero temps) as well as recreationalists dreaming of warmer days may want to check out this list of 2007 races and events.
Humanized, a local software start-up, just launched their premier product, and did it with a bang: the Wall Street Journal's Walt Mossberg wrote a favorable review of Enso today. If you're on Windows, it's worth checking out. (Disclosure: I'm their PR guy, but I still thinks it's cool. Can't say that about all my clients.)
You know FM 107.9, "La Ley," the Spanish-language station (they of the scandalous billboards)? Well, they it would appear that they took "The Law" into their own hands when they attempted to withhold a Corvette from a contest winner who was apparently undocumented.
So much in fact, that if you sign up for their Winter fitness center session by February 14th, they'll give you the Spring session free. The average price is $50 per three month session, there are 44 centers to choose from around the city, and they've improved their fitness center equipment. Wow! A city service that serves people? Awesome! (Thanks, Roni.)
She's the sweet little lady who lives in Des Plaines. She's also the daughter of George Halas and the majority owner of the Chicago Bears. Virginia McCaskey today told Tribune reporter Don Pierson "maybe I'm not competent," in reference to the criticism she received during the dark ages of the 1990's. Maybe she's not, but the team would not be in the position it is today had she not "promoted" her son Mike in 1999 after the Dave McGinnis fiasco.
Floyd Webb was interviewed in the Reader last summer about his current project: a documentary on Chicago martial artist John Keehan (aka Count Dante: The Deadliest Man Alive). With half a year's research, a bizarre tale of kung-fu, pet lions, comic book ads, death matches, and Mafia hitmen got weirder. Mr. Webb dutifully reports on his descent into 70s martial arts madness at his blog.
We're already seeing the first of what will end up being a host of stories on the lengths that Chicagoans will go to get Super Bowl tickets! For example, Lake View woman Jennifer Gordon will gladly paint an ad across her pregnant belly in exchange for two Super Bowl tickets. Since 100 million people will see this ad clearly on television, it might not be a bad deal.
Chicago-based authors Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba are embarking on a tour in support of their new book, "Citizen Marketers: When People Are the Message", a follow-up to the influential 2002 offering, "Creating Customer Evangelists". It's also TypePad's Book of the Month for January. In classic eat-your-own-dog-food fashion, the tour was planned by their readers.
Chicago artist Cayetano "Tano" Ferrer has been doing amazing things with otherwise drab "No Parking" signs for a minute now, but it seems like you have to be fluent in a romance language to have even heard of the guy. Here are pictures of the faux-transparent signs themselves, and a video of the man in action. Now hit the streets, line yourself up just right, and convince yourself of your own superpowers. I'd take these over those whacked-out cows anyday.
It's winter. Darn near February, too. And if you don't yet have one of those deep-purple, painful-to-the-touch, entire-buttock bruises acquired after an icy slip-and-fall, then now is your chance to get one. And you can have fun while doing it, too! Yes, it's broomball season in the icy north, folks. So put on that third layer of sweatpants and get out to Warren Park for everyone's favorite coed winter sport. Seasons start on February 6 and 15. Registration information here, or call 773-866-2955.
This show, put on by a troupe from Amsterdam, has it all: break-dancing, acrobats, a hip-hop DJ, a human beatbox who rivals the DJ, and world-champion roller bladers. In a 70-minute production, you chuckle or your breath is taken away at least every five minutes. Perfect if you have a kid to entertain this weekend. (Even if the kid's your inner child.) Closes Sunday, 28 Jan. Tickets are available from the Chicago Children's Theater.
Not wanting to cheat her husband Mark of the joy of seeing the Bears trounce the Saints at Soldier's Field, Colleen Pavelka of Homer Glen induced labor on Friday rather than risk giving birth during the big game. "I thought, how could (Mark) miss this one opportunity that he might never have again in his life?" said Pavelka, 28, who is now undoubtedly prayed to as a fertility goddess by legions of male Bears fans.
Though the search extended to Chicago, a mother and her four children kidnapped from their Elkhart, Indiana home on Saturday by the kids' father have been found safe in an Elkhart motel.
What's the first thing that comes to mind when you think of good science fiction literary magazines? Not a whole lot, right? Well, all you sci-fi fans get ready because a new local venture aims to change that with their annual publication, Tales from the Dim Unknown. Get a taste of the latest local literary endeavor over at the Book Club page, where I give it my two thumbs up.
Thanks to Neighbors Project, you don't have to get off of the train or bus to meaningfully express your frustration with the CTA. Power up your phone and text cta[your zip code]@npjt.org to send the message featured here to Mayor Daley, as well as your alderman, state representative and state senator. Their website also offers the means to spread the word.
Three Monday, one Sunday and two last Wednesday brings the total number of pedestrians killed by cars in the city and suburbs to six in as many days. Those sobering numbers and seeing the ghost bikes around town tell me that the City's Safe Streets Plan, summed up in this December Trib article, can't be implemented soon enough.
The Reverend Jeremiah Wright has been an influential Chicagoan long before being known as Senator Barack Obama's pastor.
Two things Chicago really needs for its Olympic bid are a temporary 80,000 stadium and more high-rise dwellings. The long-awaited renderings of the Washington Park Olympic stadium have been unveiled, along with the proposed Olympic Village just south of McCormick Place. Sure, Schwarzenegger, Villaraigosa... you have most venues already built. But do you have pretty drawings? I think not.
Ahead of next month's election, Time takes a look at Mayor Daley and the political environment that has allowed him to reign for so long. (Thanks, Dee.)
Over on Ask.MetaFilter, someone has posted about O'Donovan's canceling his friend's contract for a Super Bowl party without notice, even though it's been on the books for over a month. Keep that in mind next time you're looking for a place to host a party.
More details are emerging about the Chicago Board of Elections' release of 1.3 million voters' personal information.
The Bears' Super Bowl slot is having ripple effects in all corners of Chicago. For only the third time in the show's 19-year history, The Neo-Futurists are cancelling a performance of Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind. So don't go to the theater on Sunday, Feb. 4. Stay home and watch the puppies instead.
Second City Cop, a lively anonymous weblog maintained by a Chicago police officer, asks "Are We at War? ...with Streets and Sanitation?". In typical SCC fashion, the copious comments pile on details about the post (unmarked police cars being ticketed and towed)-- naming names, giving locations, mentioning companies-- and also fly off into a bunch of rewarding off-topic directions. It's like being an invisible man in a cop bar. Careful, though-- there's no way to know that the commenters are bona fide People in Blue. SCC also reports that upwards of 40% of their traffic comes from outside the state of Illinois most days and there are "a number of remote computers that seem to monitor the site for inordinately long amounts of time, one of which is based in Springfield and another at Champaign-Urbana". Wonder who that could be...
Yesterday, the 34th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, US District judge David Coar ordered the Illinois secretary of state's office to start cranking out "Choose Life" license plates by the end of February. Choose Life Illinois filed the lawsuit after failing twice to get the General Assembly to approve an anti-abortion plate. Proceeds from the plates will support adoption services. No word yet on whether we'll also get the option of a pro-choice plate.
January 29th (next Monday) is Milton Friedman Day, in honor of the late Nobel Prize-winning economist and University of Chicago professor. There will be a memorial service at Rockefeller Chapel on the campus of the U of C, and a PBS documentary, "The Power Of Choice," will premiere on PBS (9 PM on WTTW). Details in Slowdown.
Who says the days of frenzied media consolidation are on the wane? Clear Channel was recently sold to a consortium that has also been poised to purchase TribCo. While the deals and the numbers have yet to be finalized, it appears that 2006 was a record year for radio ownership shifts in Chicago.
Chicago software stalwarts 37signals are conducting another one of their Fireside Chats-- roundtable discussions using their Campfire chat software. This time it's marketing wonder man Seth Godin and online customer experience guru Mark Hurst. Your questions are welcome.
He says he's still "concerned" about corruption in the administration, but Barack Obama still thinks Daley should be mayor. Having Da Mare on his side probably won't hurt that presidential bid, either.
Pardon our dust: we're making some small changes and rolling out some new features this week. First off, we've added an easier way for you to get to our blogs, Transmission and Book Club (and soon Drive Thru, our food blog!) You may need to refresh your browser to get it to show up correctly.
Second, we're proud to announce our new job board, part of the Chicago Job Board Network with MidwestBusiness.com, the Illinois IT Association and Chicagoist. Listings are free for the next 30 days, so be sure to try it out!
LTHForum.com has put together a great collection of Chicago food photos from 2006. Everything from Alinea to Mr. Shrimp. (link spotted at EatChicago)
We told you in November about the 365 Days/365 Plays project, in which 52 theater companies are performing 365 short plays by Pulitzer winner Suzan-Lori Parks. The list of participating companies ranges from the traditional big guns (Goodman, Steppenwolf) to the tiny and/or unconventional like Soul Theatre and 500 Clown. Teatro Vista brings us week eleven, with performances (in mixed Spanish and English) tomorrow night at the Hungry Brain and Saturday night at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church; next week The Mill Theatre incorporates their seven plays into their Et Cetera performance festival. See 365 Chicago for the full calendar.
With so many blogs out there, it usually takes good writing or a great design to catch my eye. The Minivan Mafia should win an award for its great name, and the graphic.... priceless. Nice job, Jenn.
It's a relatively minor entry on the list of reasons why the Bears' trouncing of the Saints yesterday, and their impending trip to Super Bowl XLI, is freaking awesome. But it still warms my heart to reread Jay Mariotti's column from yesterday's Sun-Times—while I'm glad he's healthy enough to be writing again, his pessimistic, ripjob game preview is classic back-and-forth bombast, negative enough that Mariotti could say he told us so if the Bears lost, but never outright predicting they would. Expect Mariotti's next column to claim he knew all along the Bears would dominate the Saints—and the one after that to proclaim they can't possibly beat the Colts.
Northside Preparatory High School, one of the Chicago Public School's eight selective enrollment high schools, has selected Barry Rodgers to be its second principal, succeeding Dr. James Lalley. Rodgers was chosen over 38 candidates from around the city and the nation. Northside was recently named one of the top 25 high schools in the nation by Newsweek. Rodgers is a local product-- a graduate of Queen of Angels and Gordon Tech. Northside's student newspaper, the Hoofbeat, gets extra credit for breaking the story on their website and for using Joomla to power it.
Why, lots of things! Crain's offers some explanations in an in-depth feature..
Instead of kvetching in vain, check out The Assassins. This Stephen Sondheim show produced by the Porchlight Theatre depicts (in song!) the complicated lives of presidential assassins. Go to the show, which runs through March 11 -- but don't get too many "ideas," if you know what we mean.
Local interdisciplinary theater company Striding Lion InterArts Workshop is looking for 2-D artists to create backdrops for its upcoming production of "Gerrymander," a spaghetti western about the 2003 Republican redistricting in Texas. According to the curator, Jessica Lucas, "Mostly this will be landscape-based work, but all this is open to interpretation of landscape and I hope to find work that is multi-media and unconventional in its use of the 'landscape'." Selected artists will get $50 for supplies plus half of the proceeds when their work is auctioned off by the theater. If you're intrigued, drop Jessica a line at lacgallery-at-yahoo-dot-com by Jan. 23.
After a significant design change in December, the Chicago Spire is losing the blunt top and undergoing further changes,
although the current plans have not been publicly released [UPDATE: and sketches are now available].
Chicago-born, Park Ridge-raised Hillary Rodham Clinton is officially running for president.
This innovative theatre group is at it again. Opening on February 9 is Once Upon a Time written by local author Joe Meno. This show, which will be presented in an "elaborately crafted toy theater" runs Feb. 3 through April 8 at Redmoon Central, 1463 W. Hubbard St. Get tix now.
If you thought the Harlem Globetrotters were actually from New York, you're totally wrong, friend. Today's Trib has a story on the South Side roots of the Washington Generals' sworn enemies, chock full of history and trivia (Meadowlark Lemon's real first name? George). Basketball's goodwill ambassadors are playing at the United Center on Saturday and two games at the Sears Centre on Sunday.
The latest news in the Chief Illiniwek saga is that the Ogala Sioux Tribe, which provided the U of I with the mascot's costume in 1982, is now asking for the costume back. The issue will be taken up by university trustees after the tribe sent its resolution to the school yesterday.
The Green Exchange, Logan Square's proposed "green merchandise mart" has launched its website. Dedicated towards green living, the site offers building plans, an FAQ and a forum to discuss the building and issues surrounding its development. [Hat tip: Craig]
Tell your friends and family overseas: Oasis Hong Kong, a no-frills, low-cost airline, has applied to make Chicago one of its departure points. Right now Oasis offers a nonstop flight between London and Hong Kong for as little as $150 (plus tax and fees) one way, so it's fair to expect highly affordable tickets.
Preservation Chicago has announced its seven most endangered buildings for 2007, and it's a doozy, including the recently-in-the-news Farwell Building and the Wicker Park commercial district along Milwaukee Avenue.
A quick note to those who've contacted us wanting to join the GB staff: We're working our way through the many, many submissions, and will be getting in touch with everyone very soon. (If you think you've got what it takes to contribute but have been hesitating to apply, you've still got a little time! Details here.)
The Tribune Company received just three bids in its self-auction, and none look all that appealing, according to the Wall Street Journal. The Chandler family, the former owners of the LA Times who own 20 percent of TribCo.'s stock, made the best offer, but it's just a little higher than the current stock price. Read the Chandlers' letter here [PDF]. One of the others was for just the broadcast division.
The Bleeding Heart Bakery located in the latest hotbed of development and hipness (Damen/Chicago) has just re-opened following remodeling. They say, "We want to show the city how we've grown since opening last year- we've transformed everyone's favorite organic bakery into a full café, featuring a new line of sandwiches, a full espresso bar, and a wider selection of ready-to-buy produce and dry goods." Yum.
Tense Forms, the collaborative multi-disciplinary, project-based workgroup, is holding their 2nd annual Winter Showcase at Subterranean on February the 2nd at 8pm onwards. The showcase features an insane amount of buttons (1000+), a wall of televisions screening all kinds of visual art as well as live music.
Increasingly needed in this day and age, A Fresh Squeeze is a site dedicated to green living in Chicago. Primarily a bi-weekly email, the site also offers articles in their archives for a taste of things past.
The only thing stronger than a smoking ban: the Bears' chance at the Super Bowl. Three Chicago suburbs are considering a temporary lift on the ban to review the impact the ban's having on the local economy -- and to allow bars and restaurants to permit smoking in their businesses during the Bears game on Sunday and the Super Bowl.
If you haven't yet seen the Leo Burnett-created Allstate ad with the car that plunges into the Chicago River from the Marina City parking deck, the companies have posted both the 30-second and 60-second versions and a behind-the-scenes video at YouTube. YouTube blocked at work? The videos and a "how'd they do that?" FAQ get their own mini-site at Allstate.com, too.
Following up on a previously reported story, things between R. Kelly and the Village of Olympia Fields are cool. Kelly has removed the guard house that he'd constructed without a permit, but maintains that, as "a nationally known, Grammy award-winning recording artist," they should have cut him some slack.
Those wacky Sun-Times staffers are at it again with this year's monkey stock market picks. As you'd expect, "Mr. Adam Monk," the primate in question, has beaten the major indices for the last four years. After you take in the monkey madness, pull a stock out of a hat and enter their contest for most appreciating stock.
Who wants to groove out for free on Friday? Check Transmission for your chance.
Feder reports that Jerry Springer "bodyguard" Steve Wilkos, a former Chicago cop, will be getting his own show on NBC later this year. It will be filmed in the NBC Tower studios, like Springer, and will feature Wilkos "offering advice and doling out his version of justice," i.e., headlocks.
Just in case you struggle with matching numbers up to real life, I thought I'd help you out a bit. 20% of working theater folks are female. There are a lot more people behind the scenes than there are on stage, remember. And since that just isn't right, Elizabeth Schwan-Rosenwald and Abigail Boucher created 20% Theater Company Chicago (based off 20% Theater Company in New York City) to try to even out those numbers a bit. You can support them tonight, in fact.
The divide between improv and stand-up comedy isn't exactly church-and-state, but it's not so often that the twain shall meet. That's what's notable about Thomas and TJ's Tuesday Riot—it's the first show at iO, the former ImprovOlympic, to include stand-up. Each week features sets from three comics, followed by an improv set by Thomas Middleditch and TJ Miller. Read the minireview at Time Out's blog and check out next week's show with guests Prescott Tolk, Pat Brice and Brendan McGowan.
As if all of his publicity hogging—new season of The Apprentice, the Miss USA thing, parading his newest trophy wife (whose name we're not even bothering to learn this time, because really, why?) at the Golden Globes—weren't obnoxious enough, The Donald tossed in some douchey business practices in Chicago this week. The Tribune reports that Trump has reneged on the contracts of the 42 "friends and family" buyers who purchased condos in Trump Tower Chicago before construction began. Those buyers, who got a deep discount and expected to be able to flip the condos after prices rose, enabled Trump to secure financing and start the project. Now Trump gets to resell the condos at market price; the "friends and family" get nothing back but interest.
The Washington Post puts Chicago's 2006 bank robbery record into a national context, while sharing a few of the nicknames the police have given some of the more notorious bandits.
After last year's small success in Chicago, we've heard word that the Bicycle Film Festival will be back again. Currently, founding director Brendt Barbur and co are looking for new submissions for the 2007 round of film festivals set to take place in up to 15 cities: "We are looking for films with a strong theme or character of bicycles. This includes all mediums and styles such as animation, experimental, narrative, documentary and music videos." The deadline is February the 17th so you have about a month to get going or fine-tune that piece you've been working on. Details at the site or take a look at the flyer here.
The Beachwood Reporter does a send-up of the Mac vs. PC commercials featuring our hometown papers -- the difference being that neither the Trib nor the Sun-Times comes out on top.
Barackwatch rolls on: rumor has it he'll announce his presidential candidacy on Oprah sometime this week. In the meantime, he delighted crowds yesterday with appearances at two MLK Day events as he tantalized politicos with why he's going to run. UPDATE Obama filed paperwork to form an exploratory committee today, which isn't quite announcing his candidacy, but darn close. Watch his video statement here.
The Bears won yesterday, which means we all win: report to Bobtail on Broadway between 5pm and 7pm today and receive a free ice cream cone or hot cocoa! (I'm going with the cocoa.)
Chicago Magazine did a profile of several of the city's newsblog type things, including GB, Chicagoist, Metroblogging, The Beachwood Reporter and CTA Tattler. Fun to see your favorite editors in pixel form!
To honor the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King, the Metro, The Peace Museum and Sacred Heart Schools have launched an exhibition that pays tribute to the life and work of the Nobel Prize-winning civil rights leader. The show emphasizes his work in Chicago, and runs January 16-24 in the 6200 House at Sacred Heart Schools at 6250 N. Sheridan. Remember that respecting the work of Dr. King shouldn't stop after today, his birthday.
This time it's the Four Stars Restaurant in the West Loop, which has been open for 80 years. The building on the corner of Madison and Racine has been sold, and the restaurant will close at the end of the month to make way for -- what else? -- condos.
With today's overtime win against the Seahawks, the Bears will face the Saints next Sunday for the NFC Championship and their first trip to the superbowl since 1985. Great news, to be sure, but does that mean we have to suffer through Mike Ditka singing "Bear Down, Chicago Bears" with CBS2's Vince Gerasole?
Much as I love Chicago, after days of chilly, gray, damp weather I sometimes wish I were elsewhere. So the Cultural Center's new exhibit of large-scale Venice photographs is just perfect. Details in Slowdown.
The Reader's cover story is a profile of Mark Mavrantonis, executive chef at Fulton's on the River and an oyster afficianado. He's writing a Kitchen Confidential-style "manifesto" about oysters; read some excerpts here.
At what point can you tell when that magical "snow emergency" level of precipitation has been met? The city of Evanston is considering bringing back a practice of sounding its emergency sirens at the start of a snow emergency, thus alerting its residents that they need to move their car from prohibited streets. In the meantime, and perhaps important to know this weekend, there's a hotline, a website, TV and radio stations that let you know when a snow emergency is in effect. In Chicago, it's a little harder to figure out.
In placing a call to 311 today, I was told that they announce that a snow emergency has been declared on "the TV and the radio," but when I pressed for more information about which stations and who with the City might be telling the tow truck drivers to head out there, I was told to check Weather.com. Once I talked to a supervisor, I was told to check CLTV (channel 10), "any of the radio stations" or the Department of Transportation website (which has nothing about snow, maybe they meant Streets and Sanitation?). My best advice is to probably move your car from a "no parking during a snow emergency" street first, start counting the inches second. But maybe that's their plan all along.
Lowen & Navarro are playing tomorrow night at the Park West, and friends of GB Tin Horse are opening for them. The show is nearly sold out, but Tin Horse has your hook-up: enter their raffle by 3pm today and you could win a pair.
State Senator John Cullerton (D-Chicago) proposed legislation today to ban smoking in Illinois. The proposed bill would require all indoor public places, including all places of employment, to be smoke-free (with some exceptions). It would go into effect January 1, 2008 and would preempt the Chicago ordinance that gives some bars until July 2008 to go smoke-free.
Adequate. That was the first word that came to mind when I visited Petra Cafe. The hummos is good, the falafil sandwich is Chicago-big and dependable. It's quiet there, and you can usually find a place to sit. This is exactly what you expect, and that is certainly a huge part of its appeal. If you're a vegetarian looking for lunch in the Loop, you could certainly do worse. Petra Cafe, 331 S. Franklin, (312) 913-9660.
While the great unwashed savor their 5-ounce soda pours and $7 sandwiches, first-class and business-class passengers on United Airlines can rejoice in the return of Charlie Trotter as a co-executive chef.
Transmission (our lil' local music blog) has all the details on the Indie Indy band Margot and the Nuclear So and So's who take the stage at Schubas tonight as a part of the Tomorrow Never Knows Festival.
Wouldn't it be cool to get an email telling you electricity rates are about to go up, so you'd better run the dishwasher right away? Or they're about to go down, so you can plan to do a big pile of laundry? And then have your electric bill be lower at the end of the month because you used more electricity when it was cheap and less when it was expensive? The Community Energy Cooperative, an initiative of the Center for Neighborhood Technology, recently piloted an hourly metering scheme, and a new program will be starting soon. Click here to find out more and fill out an interest form.
Noting an increasing trend in applying the techniques of economics to social and public health issues, this article highlights young economist Emily Oster at the University of Chicago, who has been studying why AIDS rates are higher in sub-Saharan Africa than elsewhere.
The University of Chicago is contemplating gender-neutral undergraduate housing -- an idea the Maroon editorial board endorses.
The February issue of Outside magazine (with Shaun White on the cover) has a great article about Portland-based start-up outdoor clothing company Nau, which is about to open stores online and nation-wide this spring (including a Chicago spot). This isn't your standard jacket and ski goggle venture, however.
Not willing to add to the petroleum-based synthetic fibers that are at the core of most outdoor clothing, they've spent millions creating breathable, beautiful and strong fabrics from unusual sources. They've got gorgeous jackets made from recycled soda bottles and silky base layers made from corn (no, really!). Look to buy online at the end of January, or in person at their Chicago store (one of only a four total to open this spring) which is due to open in mid-April in Lincoln Park, at 2118 N. Halsted.
Note to self: if you say not to do something, everyone's going to want to do it. Senator Barack Obama might be learning this lesson right now, after commenting about a People magazine spread of "Beach Babes" that features his familiar face and not-so-familiar shirtless body. He's called the picture, taken while he was on vacation in Hawaii, "embarassing" and told folks to "stop looking at it."
It's a new year and a new read. This month the GB Book Club picks up Elizabeth Crane's All This Heavenly Glory, a fictional memoir-type piece following an inspired Charlotte Anne Byers through several decades of her life. To find out more, head to the Book Club page to read our introduction. Hope to see you at the meeting in February.
The United States Olympic Committee today officially decided that it will bid for the 2016 Olympics. On April 14, the Committee will make the call as to whether Chicago or Los "No-2016-bid-website" Angeles will get the nod.
If you only read the print version of the Tribune's special report about fatal accidents involving teenage drivers, you may want to check out their special online year-end summary. Additionally, CTA Tattler offers some food for thought about why so few of those accidents may have been in Chicago.
Of all the things that could have popped into my head this morning, why "Liz Armstrong?" Search me, but it appears that the infamous Chicago Reader columnist has found gainful employment in Las Vegas, doing pretty much the same thing that she did here. (PS: Someone needs to update the Wikipedia entry.) (Edit: someone did.)
It's a brand new year and you've got a brand new (or existing) service, product or something to shout about. We've got the space for you to be seen. Slots are open for our Text Ads.
This should make the 20th Ward aldermanic race a bit more interesting: Alderman Arenda Troutman was arrested by federal agents today, on charges that she took bribes related to a mall built in the ward.
The University of Chicago's Center for Astrophysical Thermonuclear Flashes was awarded a couple million hours of time on a government supercomputer to run supernova simulations. The simulations could shed light (heh) on "dark energy" and other little-understood phenomena.
Here's an incredible photo of a moonrise over Chicago, circa 1985. Eerie and strange -- read the comments to learn how the photographer did it.
The Tribune offers a fine selection of art exhibits worth checking out in the coming months, including some out-of-the-way gems. Other informative prospective pieces include features about architecture, dance, and jazz, to name a few.
It's been an eventful week for Oprah Winfrey. First, a lawsuit was filed against her and her show by a woman who was injured in the stampede to get a good seat at a taping. Then she got ridiculed for her comments in a Newsweek story about her building a school in South Africa regarding why she didn't build one in the US. Then news broke that police had arrested a man who tried to extort $1.5 million from our resident billionaire.
NPR documents the debate over the University of Chicago's future acceptance of the Common Application. The university will continue to use parts of its Uncommon Application, but that doesn't mean everyone's happy. If you're curious about all the fuss, read some previous Uncommon questions.
A few new weblogs on Chicagobloggers.com worth noting: Chicagolais, a weblog about newly arrived Frenchman in Chicago; Aldertrack, a weblog tracking the upcoming local election; $50 Suit, a shopping blog about looking great for little money downtown; and a blog about deaf parents raising children in Chicago.
Last Thanksgiving, my mother-in-law gave my 5-year-old niece a little green ink pad and she started creating unique masterpieces based on her thumbprint while waiting for the turkey to appear. Unfortunately, some of these still decorate our dining room walls. New York-based artist Merle Temkin presents a much more sophisticated take in Fingerprints, a self-portrait exhibit that opens today at the Cultural Center. Slowdown has the details.
Like it's sibling in the summer, the Winter edition of Bike to Work Day coming up features hot beverages and goodies at Daley Plaza this month on the 19th (Friday) from 7 to 9am. The Chicagoland Bicycle Federation hosts activities, a raffle with prizes and the chance to congregate and meet up with your fellow cyclists.
The Columbia Journalism Review reports on the unexpected popularity of the Tribune's story on the O'Hare UFO sighting [previously], which has gotten over a million pageviews and has turned editor John Hilkevitch into a sort of celebrity. (Thanks, Matt!)
It's Bloggies nomination time again -- take a moment or two and nominate your favorite blogs! (May we suggest Gapers Block as a fine nominee for best topical blog and best group blog?)
Follow-up to the previous item on the plans to gut the Farwell Building: the plan failed to get a majority in today's meeting of the Chicago Landmarks Commission. Play-by-play details at The Place where We Live.
The History Channel recently asked designers to submit concepts of their cities 100 years in the future. Teams from Chicago, New York and Los Angeles are now facing off for the grand prize. Check out and possibly vote for Chicago's entry from UrbanLab today.
Resolved to learn something new, or just get your hands in some yarn—either way, head over to the Winter Delights Stitching Salon now through February at the Chicago Tourism Center. There will be lunchtime knitting, knitting movies, special classes for all skill levels and lots of like-minded yarn addicts around to fuel your obsession. Many details online, but most important is, it's free.
If today's Rearview photo (courtesy of the ever excellent Archie Florcruz) bewilders you or makes you want to do the same thing, take a look at his entry explaining his photo and then head over to the Create Your Own Planets Flickr pool for info on how to do this.
If you need a laugh to get you through to the ides of January, Chicago's sixth annual Sketch Comedy Festival starts today at the Theatre Building on Belmont.
Lynn Becker makes an impassioned case for why the Commission on Chicago Landmarks shouldn't allow a developer to move forward on its plans to tear down the Farwell Building on Michigan Avenue, build a parking garage, and then "skin" the garage with the Farwell's exterior. The commission is voting on the plans today at 12:45pm; the meeting is open to the public, should you wish to be heard on the subject.
UPDATE: The building has been saved ...for now.
Well, so much for that. Jason Pisarik made it 33 hours and 5 minutes in the ESPN Zone Couch Potato Contest, long enough to solidly beat the competition, but far short of the world record of 69 hours and 48 minutes.
Eight Forty-Eight interviewed musician and teacher Michael Droste this morning about his just-completed One Song Every Day project , which began as a New Year's resolution in 2006. Listen to the interview here (mp3).
At last year's recent DIY Trunk Show, I made my usual rounds looking at who was doing what. The quality keeps getting better and better every year, a testament to those who organize the Trunk Show. However, one vendor caught my eye — Pink Loves Brown. The goods were smart, well-designed, retro-modern and quality. Nicole Balch puts out some really nice stuff — her apartment is quite inspiring, an extension of her work and aesthetic.
Looking for a new lunch spot in the loop? Well, soon enough the new Hannah's Bretzel will open up at the Illinois Center this month. Quick reconn shows that progres is coming along -- and purports to be green construction. Check the HB site for more updates.
The City of Chicago is once again holding their "Turn Green Into Blue" [PDF] Xmas tree recycling program. On January the 6th, you can bring your tree or a bag of recyclables to one of 23 locations from 9:00am and 2:00pm. You get your tree back in the form of mulch and you get a year's supply of blue bags for your time. Take a look at the PDF flyer for locations.
Over at the ESPN Zone, four guys -- including defending champ Jason Pisarik of Lombard -- settled into black leather recliners and got ready for some serious vegging. Their mission is to sit and stare at a television for as long as they can, getting up only for 15 minute breaks every eight hours. If one can last until 8am Thursday, he'll set a new world record.
A group of Chicago cyclists (myself being one of them) have organized a ride to raise awareness of the growing number of cyclist fatalities in the Chicagoland area. Named the "Fallen Rider Memorial Ride", the ride will start at the Thompson Center at 6pm tomorrow, January the 3rd and will ride to Diversey and Pulaski at an easygoing and respectful pace. The goal? To highlight how important driving and cycling are to Chicago and how the two require attention and respect. A PDF flyer can be viewed, downloaded, printed and passed along from here.
Garrett Popcorn recently opened its first store outside of Chicago. The Sun-Times reports that the new location, in Manhattan's Penn Plaza, has not yet experienced the long lines of customers that Chicago shops typically have. But the new location has only been open for less than a month, so they're working on it. So if you find yourself in Manhattan and need some Garrett's popcorn, remember this address: 242 W. 34th Street.